Thursday, 10 February 2022

the dread pirate roberts

Killed during the melee of the Battle of Cape Lopez (off the coast of modern-day Gabon) on this day in 1722, Bartholomew Roberts (*1682, also known by the Welsh monicker Barti Ddu, Black Bart) was the most successful privateer and defining figure of the Golden Age of Piracy, capturing over four hundred ships in his relatively short career and terrorising merchants in Newfoundland, the Caribbean and West Africa. Roberts and his compatriots developed one of the first Pirate Codes of Conduct that outlined pay, recompense, responsibility and punishment and flew under a variety of rogue banners that eventually came to be the familiar skull and cross-bone flag.

Wednesday, 29 December 2021

mmxxi

As this calendar draws to a close and we look forward to 2022, we again take time to reflect on a selection of some of the things and events that took place in 2021. Thanks as always for visiting. We’ve made it through another wild year together and we’ll see this next one through together as well.

 january: In the US state of Georgia’s run-off election, Democrat candidates prevail and thus switch the Senate’s controlling majority. The joint session of Congress to certify the votes of the Electoral College in favour of the Biden-Harris ticket is interrupted by a violent insurrection on the Capitol incited by Donald

Trump, yet the proceedings are resumed undeterred. For his gross incompetence and treasonous actions, the US House of Representatives impeaches Trump for a second time. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are inaugurated president and vice-president of the United States of America in a socially-distanced ceremony held on the same portico where the violent coup attempt occured two weeks prior. Across Russia, thousands protest the arrest and detention of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.  English filmmaker Michael Apted (*1941), entertainer Siegfried Fischbacher (*1939, see also last May) and baseball players Tommy Lasorda (*1927) and Hank Aaron (*1941), actress Cloris Leachman (*1926) as well as accomplished star of stage and screen Cicely Tyson (*1924) pass away.  

february: A military uprising in Myanmar wrests power from the government of Aung San Suu Kyi.  Actor Hal Holbrook (*1925) and veteran become fund-raiser who raised millions for the National Health

Service Sir Captain Thomas Moore (*1920) himself succumbed to COVID-19.   French screen-writer and director Jean-Claude Carriรจre (*1931) passed away, and so veteran actor Christopher Plummer (*1929). The US Senate again convenes as jury to vote on whether to acquit or prosecute Donald Trump’s impeachment.  Larry Flynt (*1942), publisher, pornographer and self-styled anti-censorship champion, passed away, as did jazz virtuoso and twenty-three-time Grammy Award winner Chick Corea (*1941).  The US Senate votes not to acquit Donald Trump a second time after his second impeachment.  A polar vortex brings severe winter storms to Texas and Mexico, leaving millions without heat and electricity has the power grid is overwhelmed.  Talk radio provocateur Rush Limbaugh (*1951)  dies after a year-long struggle with lung cancer.  Poet and activist Lawrence Ferlinghetti passes away, aged 101. Martian probe Perseverance touched down on the Red Planet to begin a search for signs of past life. The US rejoins the Paris Climate Agreement.  

march: Oprah Winfrey interviews the estranged, self-exiled Sussexes about Meghan Markle’s treatment

by the Royal Family, causing consternation and many to question the institution of the monarchyPhantom Tollbooth author Norton Juster (*1929) passed away aged ninety-one.  A container ship gets lodged in the Suez Canal, hindering global trade and could potentially be stuck for weeks.  Legislators in the American state of Georgia pass selectively restrictive laws to disenfranchise Black voters.   Children’s book author Beverly Cleary (*1916) writer of the Ramona Quimby series passed away, aged 104.  The usurping military forces in Myanmar gun down dozens of pro-democracy protesters.  Islamic rebels besiege the city of Palma in Mozambique.  Undercover operative whose missteps brought the Watergate scandal to the press and public, G. Gordon Liddy (*1930) died, aged 90, as did author Larry McMurtry (*1936) who penned Lonesome Dove, The Last Picture Show and Terms of Endearment.

april: Prince Phillip passes away, aged 99.  As tensions escalate between Russia and NATO with a troop

build-up along the border with Ukraine, US President Joe Biden proposes to meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to normalise relations and restore diplomatic ties.  The police officer who murdered George Floyd is found guilty on all charges.  Walter Mondale (*1928), former vice president under Jimmy Carter, and presidential candidate with running-mate Geraldine Ferraro passed away, aged ninety-three.  Astronaut Michael Collins (*1930) who orbited the Moon while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin explored the lunar surface passed away, aged ninety.

may: Accomplished actor Olympia Dukakis (*1931) passed away, aged eighty-nine.  Architect Helmut Jahn (*1940) behind the Messeturm in Frankfurt and the Post tower in Bonn died in a bicycle accident.  Dozens of rebel priests across German defy the Catholic church and offer benedictions to same-sex couple.  Israel airstrikes in Gaza escalate.  Actor, author, televangelist and TV’s Captain Merrill Stubing Gavin MacLeod (*1931) after suffering a long bout of ill-health.  

june: G7 leaders meet in Cornwall, in person.  A coalition government in Israel unseats Netanyahu after a

dozen years as prime minister.  The US government establishes Juneteenth as a new federal holiday though new laws to disenfranchise Black voters continues apace in many Republican controlled polities.  The space station Tiangong receives its first crew.  Software and computer security pioneer John McAfee (*1945) found dead in a Spanish jail cell awaiting extradition to the US over charges of tax evasion.  Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, was disbarred for peddling the lie that that the election was stolen from his former client.  The US government issues a declassified report to congress regarding unidentified aerial phenomenon.  A twelve storey condominium complex near Miami, Florida collapses with dozens injured and unaccounted for.  

july: Outrage as more mass-graves of indigenous pupils found at historic Canadian residential schools.  Hundreds perish from record heatwaves and wildfires along the Pacific coast of North America.  Angela Merkel makes her last official visit to the United Kingdom, addressing the Houses of Parliament, the last

foreign leader to do so since Bill Clinton in 1997.   Richard Donner (*1930), film director behind The Goonies, Superman and the Lethal Weapon franchise passed away.  England plans to fully reopen with no COVID-19 restrictions late in the month despite a resurgence in cases and the rapidly spreading Delta variant.  Jovenel Moรฏse, the Haitian president, was assassinated.  Continual and torrential rains exacerbated by the climate emergency caused severe flooding in western Germany and the Henan region in China.  The Special Committee on the January 6th Capitol Insurrection heard opening testimony from law enforcement on the scene of the terror attack.  Inventor and infomercial pitchman Ron Popeil (*1935) passed away.

august: The UN Panel on Climate Change issues a stark, bleak forecast for the planet’s future as a suitable place for life as we know it.  Wildfires rage throughout the Mediterranean, Siberia and the North American west coast.  As coalition forces depart, the resurgent Taliban takes several regional capitals in weeks with Kabul poised to soon collapse as authorities flee and embassies are evacuated.  A massive earthquake strikes Haiti.  Tragically, most Afghani government officials flee the country and the capital falls as the Taliban retakes power and restores the emirate after nearly two decades of warfare.  US army installations in Germany assist with Operation Allied Refuge (OAR) as thousands of Afghans are airlifted from the country.  Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts (*1941) passes away. 
Just days ahead of the deadline imposed to complete evacuation missions out of the Hamid Karzai international airport, an Islamic State affiliate and sworn enemy of the Taliban for being too Westernised, lax, undisciplined detonated twin suicide bombs outside the gates, killing dozens.  Veteran actor and advocate Ed Asner (*1929) passed away as did Jamaican musical giant Lee “Scratch” Perry (*1936).  On the sixteenth anniversary of the devastating Hurricane Katrina, a destructive storm called Ida makes landfall.  The Taliban celebrates with fireworks and firing rifles in the air the departure of the last US flight from the Kabul airport, declaring victory.

september: The legislature of the state of Texas passes a tranche of new laws curtailing voting access, restricting teaching of America’s racist past and present, mandating the national anthem at sporting events, permitting universal carry laws for firearms and doing away with licensure or training requirements and

essentially banning abortion by placing a bounty on abettors and deputising neighbours to litigate the ban against neighbours.  New Wave actor Jean-Paul Belmondo (*1933), whose roles defined the genre and called the French counterpart of Marlon Brando, James Dean and Humphrey Bogart, passed away.  El Salvador becomes first country to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender.  “Yes Sir, I Can Boogie” singer Marรญa Mendiola (*1952) of Baccara passed away in Madrid.  An effort to recall and replace Democrat governor of California fails and Gavin Newsome retains his place, though the balloting and counter-campaigns cost taxpayers of the state in excess of a quarter of a billion dollars.  The first commercial, all-amateur space tourism mission safely splashes down after three days in orbit.  Entrepreneur, inventor and computing pioneer behind the ZX Spectrum, Clive Sinclair passed away, aged 81 (*1940).  Justin Trudeau’s party retains power following national elections.  After three years under house arrest in Canada and fighting extradition to America on charges of espionage and circumventing sanctions against Iran, business executive Meng Wangzhou, daughter of the head of Chinese communications giant Huawei, is released. 

october:  US president Biden’s agenda is derailed, diminished by moderate voices in his party.  A vaccine for malaria is trialled in Africa.  Amid a growing corruption scandal, Austrian leader Sebastian Kurz

tenders his resignation, though choosing to remain leader of his political party and will retain his seat in parliament.  William Shatner, aged ninety, as a space tourist becomes the oldest human to enter the Earth’s orbit.  Attending an open-advice surgery for his constituents from Leigh-on-Sea, long-time MP David Amess was murdered by an attacker with a knife.  Former US Joint-Chief-of-Staff and Secretary of State, Colin Powell (*1937) dies from complications arising from COVID-19.  President Biden’s Build Back Better plan, under pressure from elements of his own party, is rather austerely pared back, dropping proposed benefits like universal college tuition and paid family-leave.  Garbage social media network rebrands its parent company as Meta as it prepares to build and embrace its concept of the metaverse.  A military coup in Somali plunges the country into chaos with no signs of peaceful resolution.

november: A powerful storm-flood in western Canada cuts off Vancouver from the rest of British Columbia.  Weaponised refugees massed at the EU frontier by a provoking Belarus at enormous personal

cost are slowly being repatriated to the lands they fled.  After exonerated in a gross miscarriage of justice, Republicans acclaim a teenage, white supremacist murderer as their new hero.  Award winning Broadway songwriter Stephen Sondheim passes away, aged ninety-one in the same week as Schoolhouse Rock! lyricist Dave Frishberg (*1933).  The COVID-19 Omicron-variant, first detected in South Africa, is causing major concerns as convention cases rage resurgent in Europe, poised to be more widespread and deadly than the same time a year ago.  Inflation and supply-chain issues threaten global economic recovery.  On the anniversary of its independence from the UK in 1966, Barbados becomes the world's newest republic, with Sandra Mason as the island’s president. 

december: Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows releases Power Point slide-deck that outlined options for Trump to hold on to the presidency in the chaos of the 6. January insurrection to the commission investigating the attempted coup.  Monkees singer Mike Nesmith (*1942) passes away.  An unseasonal tornado rips through western Kentucky, leaving over a hundred dead.   Gothic novelist Anne Rice (*1941 as Howard Allen Francis O’Brien) passed away.  Tensions continue to mount at the Russo-Ukraine border with Russia putting forward a litany of demands for NATO to avoid invasion.   Journalist and author Joan Didion (*1934) passed away due to complications from Parkinson’s disease.   Borders close and travel-restrictions re-imposed over truly exponential spread of the the Omicron variant; preliminary findings suggest although less lethal, hospitals and other essential services could be overwhelmed by the sheer numbers and vulnerable populations still need protection.  Archbishop Desmond Tutu (*1931), anti-apartheid hero and moral-centre, passes away aged ninety.  Sadly veteran blogger Jonco, behind Bits & Pieces, passed away quite suddenly, leaving the blogosverse a dimmer place.  On the last day of the year and just weeks short of planned celebrations for her one-hundredth birthday, beloved talent and treasure with a career spanning over eight decades, Betty White (*1922) passed away.

 



Monday, 22 November 2021

mary’s boy child

Originally composed by Jester Hairston (*1901 - 2001) for a roommate's birthday party under the title “He Pone and Chocolate Tea” and the calypso tune later adapted to a holiday song in 1956 after Mahalia Jackson’s 1954 recording “Mary’s Little Boy Child” for Walter Schumann's Hollywood Choir, re-released the following year as a single, the performance by Harry Belafonte (previously) reached and held the top spot on the UK Hit Parade on this day in 1957.  A Christmas standard since, it was the first hit single longer than four minutes and there was also a disco cover-version by Boney M. in 1978 that also topped the charts.

Sunday, 31 October 2021

7x7: happy halloween edition

robert the doll: Key West’s most cursed object—see also—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links (lots more to see here)  

zombie jamboree: Harry Belafonte’s actual ghoulish calypso number—notwithstanding the associations with the Banana Boat Song 

la calavera catrina: a sugar skull puppet presents a primer on Dรญa de los Muertos  

westsonality: enjoy Paul Lynde’s 1976 Halloween Special with a cavalcade of guest stars  

respect the sabbath: periodic movements in the US to hold no Halloween on Sundays  

main title theme: the score for John Carpenter’s classic horror film Halloween 

lovecraft country: welcome to my metaverse—see previously

Monday, 25 October 2021

urgent fury

Along with a coalition of six Caribbean partner states, the United States embarked on this day in 1983 on its first and only military victory since partaking in World War II with its predawn invasion of Grenada, the island nation recently decolonized and independent from the United Kingdom. Characterised by outsiders as a Marxist-Leninist vanguard organization, the New Joint Endeavor for Welfare, Education and Liberation, the New JEWEL movement, chartered prior to attaining its self-governing status, had seized power in a peaceful coup from the first ministry installed after the UK’s departure.

Internal struggles among party leadership escalated to an armed confrontation that resulted in the killing of the movement's leader, Maurice Bishop, and a group of his supporters once the shooting began under still disputed and unresolved circumstances, and in turn elevated into an international crisis with the United States lobbying for immediate intervention.
Though transparently a pretext for the invasion and occupation, Ronald Reagan, wanting to forestall a repeat of the Iran Hostage Crisis, attributed his actions to “concerns over the six hundred US medical students on the island,” (the country offering medical school at affordable rates and presenting an attractive alternative to US tutition) and remained steadfast in his decision despite nearly universal condemnation and censure in the UN. Under the leadership of Major General Norman Schwartzkopf, Cuban presence was expelled to prevent further communist influence and a government friendly to capitalists' interest was propped up, though the prevailing narrative is still a contentious one and not authored by the Grenadians.

Saturday, 2 October 2021

how does it feel when you got no food?

Released mid-September as a single from their debut studio album, The Youth of Today, the song from the British-Jamaican reggae band topped the UK charts this week in 1982 with their bowdlerised cover of The Mighty Diamonds’ 1981 tune “Pass the Kutchie,” a slang term for a cannabis pipe from the patois for Dutch oven, which excised and substituted all drug references for poverty, launching the song’s popularity outside of the Caribbean community. The original line “How does it feel when you got no herb?” became the above but with dutchie itself becoming synonymous with a marijuana joint. Give me the music—make me jump and prance.

Monday, 9 August 2021

typically tropical

Best remembered for the 1975 Song of the Summer “Barbados,” reaching its pinnacle of popularity on this day those decades hence, the duo comprised of recording engineers Jess Calvert and Max West, the track was covered by the Vengaboys in 1999 as “We’re Going to Ibiza.” Typically Tropical performed the song on Top of the Pops, rounding out an album called Barbados Sky, and three years later received a song writing credit for the Hot Gossip disco number “I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper,” inspired by the Star Wars craze. “…Or are you like a droid—devoid of emotion?”

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

quasi-guerre

On this day in 1798, the United States Congress re-established the new country’s naval and marine forces and authorised the use of deadly force against France, by proxy for the most part in colonies in the Caribbean, which America had agreed to help protect from the British and the Dutch in perpetuity in gratitude for French assistance in securing independence. Against the backdrop of France’s own revolution, there was theoretical public support for the republican cause and political reform for their ally domestically but practically, America preferred to maintain a neutral stance that would allow the northern industrial states to continue trade with Britain which would otherwise be subject to embargo (see also) and the southern agricultural states did not care for the message that France was sending with ending the institution of chattel slavery. Negotiations fell apart—in what’s known as the XYZ Affair—and the US stopped payments on loans to France that had been used to finance their revolt and French privateers began to seize merchant vessels in American waters in retaliation. With minimal casualties but considerable American resources expropriated and lasting loss of export revenue, there was a cessation to the violence with the Convention of 1800 (the Treaty of Mortefontaine) status quo ante bellum.

Sunday, 27 June 2021

our lady of perpetual help

The Marian aspect as represented in a fifteenth-century Byzantine icon, the Cretan artefact held in a Roman monastery since, is venerated with devotionals on this day as patron-protector of Haiti, parts of Valencia, the Philippines and the diocese of Leeds. Against a gold background representing the Kingdom of God and that there was no place not filled with the holy spirit, the Hodegetria (Greek for ‘She who points the Way’) presents her child, frightened (symbolised by his losing one sandal) and buffeted by tiny archangels that are bearing instruments of the Passion, on the left the lance and sponge of the Crucifixion and on the right, a cross and nails. All figures are captioned: MP-ฮ˜ฮฅ, Mother of God; ฮŸฮ‘ฮœ and ฮŸฮ‘ฮ“ Michael and Gabriel (with hortative modifiers) and the christogram IC-XC for Jesus Christ. The ritual novena prayers recited before an image of the icon include thanksgiving, petitions, prayers for the sick and divine praise.

Thursday, 17 June 2021

black to the future

Recommended by Fresh Air’s jazz critic Kevin Whitehead, we very much enjoyed discovering the musical stylings bandleader and saxophonist and clarinet player Shabaka Hutchings through his recent sessions leading a reed quartet called Sons of Kemet. Much more at the link above.

Thursday, 3 June 2021

obverse

Whilst I’ve been the recipient of my share of military unit coins with varying levels of swagger, ridiculousness and bombast, outside of the prematurely issued commemorative one issued for Trump’s summit with North Korea, I was unaware of the minting of “victory coins” by US government agencies and so was intrigued by this artefact from the CIA (via Super Punch) for memorialising the over-throw of the regime of Fidel Castro in April of 1961 through the arming of exiles and dissidents. The abject failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion raised tensions significantly between the USA and the USSR and led to the Cuba Missile Crisis and inchoate nuclear war.

Saturday, 8 May 2021

a night at the roxbury

Released on this day in 1993 as a single from the artist’s debut The Album, the Eurodance number from Kรถlner musician and choreographer Haddaway (written and arranged by Dieter Lรผnstedt and Karin van Haaren whom were waiting for the right singer to take on their project) enjoyed respectable but in comparison with its legacy and iconic status decades later subdued success when it first came out. Though a one-hit wonder, it’s defining of a certain era and transports one there instantly.

Friday, 2 April 2021

fuchsia splendens

Though our prized exemplar did not make it through the winter sadly, we did rather find it interesting to learn how this plant of the month, the fuchsia, died of an over-exposure of a different sort though its reputation is now somewhat rehabilitated. First described by a French friar and botanist under commission of Louis XIV stationed on Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic) in the 1690s, the genus was named in honour of the German Renaissance researcher and professor Leonhart Fuchs of the previous century and considered one of the fathers of the field. In the following decades, it started to be cultivated in Europe and parallel the rise in cheap printing and lithography which resulting in multiple copies from the same prepared page easily reproduced without sacrificing the colour and detail that the flower highlighted and quickly became popular, and oversold eventually victim of its own success. While a number of enthusiasts and nurseries continued to experiment with breeding new types, public tastes were shifting, ultimately went for other novel plants including ferns, orchids, decorative palms and other ornamental plants.

Wednesday, 30 December 2020

to moscow chicks he was such a lovely dear

In a strange twist of fate, Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin (previously) was killed on this day (New Style, 1916) coinciding with the passing with the Aruban performer Bobby Farrell (2010), whom with the disco ensemble Boney M. produced possibly the finest musical homage in the 1978 hit single (see link above) from their album Nightflight to Venus, often dressed as the charismatic for concerts. Farrell died of heart failure whist on tour in Saint Petersburg. Here is a video from the variety show TopPop.

Monday, 21 December 2020

vรจvรจ

Either derived from a common cosmogram or schema representing the constellations or from the Nsibidi syllabary used by some peoples of West and Central Africa taken to the Americas by enslaved diaspora (or a bit of both), the religious symbols used in voodoo ceremonies and rituals is comparable to our extensive vernacular of signs and sigils employed in demonology and serve a similar purpose—which makes the later magicking seem like fanboy appropriation. Described as a beacon, vรจvรจs represent astral forces and compel the loa, lwa—that is the intermediary or medium—to do the bidding of the summoner, provided adequate sacrifice is offered. As with creating a mandala, the symbol is drawn on the flood with a mixture of sand and ash.

Monday, 14 December 2020

location scout oder deckname topas

Hearing that someone might be making a weekend of visiting nearby sites where films had been shot sounded like a fun activity and piqued my curiosity as to whether any might be in reach for me. I was surprised to come across this image from 1968 in the Stars and Stripes photographic archive of the filming of the 1969 release of the Cold War spy-thriller Topaz, the cinematic adaptation of Leon Uris’ novelisation of a real defection, the Sapphire Affair, that took place in 1962 directed by Alfred Hitchcock.  Here is the same building from last summer from a slightly different angle and perspective.
The story follows a French intelligence agent who becomes entangled in a spy ring and the geopolitical situation on the eve of the Cuba Missile Crisis. A high-ranking Soviet officer reveals that nuclear warheads will be placed in Cuba (mirroring the US installation in Turkey) and he and his family are evacuated to Wiesbaden. Filming also takes place in Copenhagen, Washington, DC, Paris, New York with Havana scenes filmed on a studio lot.

Sunday, 20 September 2020

alpha-beta

Not since the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season (see alternatively) has the World Meteorological Organisation run short of names for storms for the year, having issued a list of twenty-one names with forecasters now predicting up to twenty-five significant events. 2005 called for the first six letters of the Greek alphabet—through Zeta (ฮ– / ฮถ).

It being 2020 or that last best year with things only downhill from here on out, depending on how one frames we can halt and reverse climate change, we’ll see if that’s the Alpha and Omega. As history is yet good council even in these unprecedented times, today also marks the anniversary in 1971 when Hurricane Irene, having made landfall in Nicaragua weakened and dissipated, reconstituted herself (the first known instance since we had tracking capabilities) and remerged as cyclone Olivia, crossing from the Atlantic to Pacific coasts (see up top), raining out over Baja California. More recently, on the same day in 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico.

Sunday, 19 April 2020

mambo № 5

Though propelled back into renewed popularity with Munich artist Lou Bega’s sampling and remixed version released on this day in 1999 in German markets on his debut album A Little Bit of Mambo, the history of the jazzy dance number goes back half a century before (see also) that with the composition and recording of Mambo King Cuban musician Dรกmaso Pรฉrez Prado. Here are both songs for your listening pleasure.
Bega’s reintroduction of the tune (there is a lot of original material and is by no means just a remake and only takes inspiration from a few albeit central riffs) was incredible popular and quickly garnered accolades. It was a candidate campaign song for the Democratic Party’s 2000 election push though sponsors had second thoughts over the line “A little bit of Monica in my life…” and a BBC children’s television programme, still basking in the success from its first recording venture Can We Fix It? Yes We Can!, in 2001 released a cover-version featuring the construction engineer’s voice actor singing, replacing the litany of girlfriends with construction materials and tasks: “There’s a house with a roof that leaks / It’s an urgent job and could take us weeks… A little bit of tiling on the roof / A little bit of making waterproof / A little bit of concrete mixed with sand / A little bit of Bob, the Builder Man.”

Thursday, 16 April 2020

netherstan

Here are some relatively harmless neural network-created fantasy flag mash-ups of the personal ensign of the royal family of Korea combined with the flag of the East African Community or Tonga through the filter of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, though most outcomes are a bit more dicey and some seem absolutely provocative and bent on igniting world war.
If those aren’t enough to incite at least an international incident, one can use the same data-set and vexillogical protocols that the bot draws from (presumably ignorant what national banners can symbolise for some) to create one’s own remixes. Give it a try and share your best unlikely geopolitical union.

Monday, 9 March 2020

a kind of spouge

Dalton Sinclair Bishop (also known by his stage name Jackie “Manface” Opel), of Bridgetown, Barbados (*1937) had his promising career as a song-writer and performer tragically cut short this day in 1970, killed in an auto accident in his hometown. Though his discography and legacy with standards like Higher and Higher, You’re No Good, and When a Man Loves a Woman are in themselves unimpeachable, Opel is most famous for his invention of a genre of music called Spouge (sometimes spelled Spooge) as a fusion of ska and calypso styles that was very popular in the mid-1960s, both regionally and further abroad, influencing hymns, gospel music and sea-shanties amongst the diaspora. Instrumentation was originally limited to cow bell, bass guitar and steel drums but eventually expanded to trombones and trumpets—and even synthesizers with the style’s perennial rediscovery and homages.